New ICT academy hopes to boost research into Artificial Intelligence


By Elias Gebreselassie

A new Information Communication Technology (ICT) Academy established at the premises of the Ethiopian Leadership Academy building at Sidist Kilo area of Addis Ababa hopes to boost Ethiopia’s share in the digital world.

The academy hopes to instill a shared vision of instilling the skills of basic programming, robotic and electronics of the 21st century to a much younger segment of the population.

Getnet Assefa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCog Lab a luminary of Silicon Valley, USA says the 4th Industrial Revolution is expected to be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the last two decades 80 percent of jobs lost to Robots.

“Disruptive technologies are cheap and accessible by nature, while AI may lead to loss of jobs it also leads to abundance of opportunities and essentially the redefining of job” he added.

iCog Lab already has agreements with 36 universities and is in talks with 21 other tertiary educational institutions  to tap into the brains of skilled students.

Bethlehem Dessie 17, a child IT prodigy and project manager at iClog Lab says the new academy plans to enroll 30 students aged 6-13 years old for a 1 year training based on payment and intended to solve real world problems.

The enrollment fee is intended to ensure the sustainability and longevity of the academy required to cover the overhead cost of the institution.

The Emerging Technologies Specialized Academy will incorporate four branches: iCog-ACC Clubs, summer camp and online platform.

Seyoum Bereded President of the ICT-ET Private Sector Association says when he did his Masters degree on AI 25 years ago, it was a relatively new phenomenon.

“Countries like Kenya and Nigeria are good at ICT Competitions because of media promotion and high awareness of its importance” he says adding that AI saved Europe and the US from drought showing it’s not a luxury endeavor for poor countries like Ethiopia to undertake.